Meal Kit Review: Green Chef

A friend offered me a free kit, and Green Chef offers a Paleo option. So, I tried it.

Oh, also, side note? Today is day 59 on our Whole60!!! Whaaat? Yes.

OK, Green Chef, paleo version. The three meals, in the order we ate them (with links to the recipes on the Green Chef site) were:

Zesty Shrimp with Collards with Root Veggies and Squash, Cashew “Parmesan”

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This was good! Being Paleo and not Whole30, there were a couple of things throughout that I subbed…in this one, I subbed the bacon. It didn’t say specifically that there was sugar in the cure but it also didn’t say specifically that there wasn’t sugar. So? Bacon was subbed. I really liked the cashew parmesan element on the roasted veggies…also I don’t often include red onion in my roasted veggies and they were a spectacular addition. Also rutabaga isn’t something I generally think of, so it was nice to eat some things I wouldn’t normally buy. However, it was a pretty standard meal, I thought.

Caraway Meatballs with Braised Parsnips, Fennel & Cabbage, Pear and Rosemary

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This one holds a special place in my heart, since, wait for it…I didn’t make it!! If you’ve been reading my blog since the beginning, you know that I tried Blue Apron and was annoyed that the recipes were complicated and there was a near disaster with the meal I farmed out. But Green Chef held up for that test, with my honey preparing this whole thing with zero assistance and kicking its ass. Also, something I wouldn’t really think to cook, and pretty tasty. The pear makes it, for sure. Well, you know, the pear and the meatballs.

Herbed Chicken with Spiced Sweet Potato Mash, Cranberry and Pecan Salad

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This was probably my favorite of the three. I mean, it’s pretty hard to go wrong with mashed sweet potatoes and chicken. Also, I love a simple salad with just a nut and a dried fruit. However! I did have to sub out both the chicken broth (isn’t there no sugar in paleo, too?) and the dressing, which came again, with no listed ingredients, which is a bummer. It may have been fine but this diet has taught me to just assume there’s sugar in everything. Most of the time that’s true. Anyway, Green Chef, I’ll never know, cause you didn’t tell me the ingredients. It was also the most complicated of the three to cook…though still it wasn’t very complicated. The whole thing was really yummy, too, very nice flavors.

Things I liked about Green Chef:

  • It came with simple, easy to follow recipes that anyone could follow, even if they aren’t used to being in the kitchen. (Isn’t that the whole point of these things, really?)
  • The ingredients were all organic; they looked good, they tasted good, and they were obviously fresh.
  • Certain things were pre-chopped!! If there was a service that sous chef-ed for you, I might actually order it once it a while.
  • They offer paleo options! That’s nice. They also offer vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options. Which is smart, cause you can appeal to more types of people.

I would probably say that between the two, Blue Apron has better tasting meals. But! MUCH more laborious and complicated, and the Green Chef meals were good, too.

Would I order again? Meh. Maybe. If I was feeling swamped one week and had a little extra money to throw around and didn’t want to go grocery shopping. But, normally, I’m super geeky about my food, and I like to pick out what looks best and use that as a guide for my weekly eating. It serves as inspiration. But! If you’re new to cooking? Sure, why not.

Sous Vide Scallops with a Grapefruit/Red Onion Salsa served with Collards and Bacon; Prosciutto and sage wrapped Chicken Breasts with Sweet Potato Waffle Fries and Salad; Hake and Sweet Potato Curry

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I know, I know, this took forever. So? I took a little break for the holiday. Sue me. Side note: Whole30 Thanksgiving was super successful. Blog post to come. Maybe in a few weeks. 😀 hahahahaha!

Anyhoo. Here’s these recipes.

Sous Vide Scallops with a Grapefruit/Red Onion Salsa served with Collards and Bacon

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. scallops
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 ripe grapefruit, segmented
  • olive oil
  • ghee
  • 1 head collard greens, chopped
  • 4 slices of bacon, sliced into 1/2″ strips
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Set the sous vide to 123 F. (Alternately the scallops can be cooked in a skillet, 2 – 3 minutes per side. Set aside and skip ahead to step 3).
  2. Salt and pepper scallops and place in a bag. Pour a tablespoon of olive oil over them and seal the bag. Place into the sous vide and cook for 30 minutes. Drain and dry the scallops.
  3. Meanwhile, add 2 tablespoons of ghee to a skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add grapefruit and stir to incorporate. If you want the segments to remain intact be gentle…I messed them up and ended up with a relish-like substance…which was also yummers, (hey, it all tastes the same going down) but still. Reduce heat and continue cooking for another few minutes.
  4. Add the bacon to another skillet and cook through. Once it’s cooked, add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute, and then add the collards. (Do not remove the bacon fat!!) Cook collards through for about 2 – 3 minutes.
  5. Add the scallops to the pot with the grapefruit/red onion mixture and sear on each side, about 1 minute per side.
  6. Plate, and eat.

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Prosciutto and sage wrapped Chicken Breasts with Sweet Potato Waffle Fries and Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 14 oz. (or so) prosciutto slices
  • 1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes
  • ghee
  • avocado or coconut oil
  • fresh sage
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Salad ingredients (I’ll let you create your own. I use Ume Vinegar generally to dress unless I feel like getting fancy)

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. With a mandolin on the curvy setting, slice sweet potatoes to 1/2 inch slices. If you don’t have a mandolin, they just won’t be waffled.
  3. Spread sweet potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and three or four tablespoons of avocado or coconut oil. Place in oven and cook for 20 minutes or until browned to your liking, flipping once midway.
  4. Meanwhile, lay prosciutto slices on a cutting board and lay sage leaves on each. Place chicken, one fillet per slice, atop each. Salt and pepper each, then wrap the chicken in the prosciutto slices.
  5. Heat 2 tablespoons of ghee in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the prosciutto-wrapped chicken and cook 4 – 5 minutes on each side. Garnish with some chopped sage and serve with salad and sweet potatoes.

Hake and Sweet Potato Curry

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Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. hake, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 sweet potato, chopped
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/2 pound tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon tumeric
  • ghee
  • coarse sea salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh cilantro for garnish

Preparation:

  1. Add 2 tablespoons of ghee to a skillet over medium high heat. Once melted, add onion and cook until soft and slightly browned, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes to skillet. Salt and pepper the mixture, stir, and cook through until the tomatoes are fragrant and dark, about another 10 minutes.
  3. Allow to cool for a few minutes and then transfer the whole shebang to a blender. Blend at high speed until the mixture is smooth.
  4. In a deep, heavy pot like a dutch oven over high heat, add a tablespoon of ghee. Once melted, add the mustard seeds, curry leaves and cumin seeds and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Add the tomato and onion mixture and the can of coconut milk and stir. Bring to a boil and add the cumin, paprika and tumeric. Add the sweet potatoes and cook until potatoes a fork goes through one easily, about 10 or 15 minutes.
  5. Salt and pepper the fish, and then add it to the pot. Cover and cook for 2 minutes, then turn off the heat and allow to sit for another 6 minutes. Top with cilantro and eat immediately.

Whole 60: Days 40 – 50

I have to admit, I’ve been really feeling this diet lately. I just, feel so good! I mean, at the same time, I can’t wait to have a drink; but really I think we’ll be eating primarily like this in the future. I’ve really learned a whole new way to cook, a whole new understanding of what I’m putting in my body, and honestly (and most importantly) what it feels like to live without all that crap in your body. And, it feels really good.

It also feels good to be approaching the holiday season feeling so healthy. We will be doing a Whole30 compliant Thanksgiving…mostly. I am making some desserts that don’t include sugar, even though you aren’t really supposed to do that. I’m using monkfruit extract in place of sugar, but only a bit…and I’m making a parfait with coconut yogurt that I think I can go sugar free entirely with…I’m gonna cook some berries down without sugar, they will still be sweet and delicious. So, it’s sort of cheating, but really not, considering we’ll have been on this thing for 53 days at that point, and considering we won’t be eating pie. Or stuffing. Or bread. So, ya know, you gotta live your life, too. We’ll just be so close to our 60 day goal at that point, seems a shame to screw it up just for a holiday.

Anyway, here’s some stuff I’ve been eating during the last 10 days. Recipes to follow.

Egg Fried in Delicata Rings with Potatoes and Bacon

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Sous Vide Scallops with a Tomato/Red Onion Salsa served with Collards and Bacon

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Prosciutto and sage wrapped Chicken Breasts with Sweet Potato Waffle Fries and Salad

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Mackerel Poached Egg Salad

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Hake and Sweet Potato Curry

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Poached Eggs on Roasted Brussels with Bacon

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Again, I’ll post the curry recipe, the prosciutto wrapped chicken, the scallops, etc., in the next few days. In the meantime you can use the images for inspiration using whatever you have in your home! Enjoy.

Broiled Bluefish with Eggplant Chips and Bacon-y Collards

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This was an outstanding meal. For all you haters of bluefish, which I think are many (!), I say to you, you’ve either been eating bad bluefish or you just don’t know how to cook it. It’s true, bluefish doesn’t last as long as some other fishes, but it is delicious. Find it fresh, and eat it that night. I’ve had success with many-a bluefish preparation, but this one was extra yummy and also super easy.  Don’t take my word for it; get out there and find you some bluefish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. bluefish fillets
  • 1/2 bottle of red wine vinegar
  • 1 large eggplant, halved lengthwise and sliced thinly
  • 1 head of collard greens, chopped
  • 4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • avocado oil; can also use coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of ghee
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Marinate the bluefish in the red wine vinegar for at least 1/2 hour, but can be for several hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 35o F
  3. Spread eggplant slices on a tin foil lined baking sheet. Generously drizzle oil over the slices and salt and pepper them.
  4. Cook at 350 for 20 minutes. Remove the sheet from the oven and fold the tin foil over itself so that it creates a little packet. Set the eggplant packet aside and allow it to steam in its own juices for 15 minutes or so.
  5. Once the eggplant is out of the oven, raise the heat to broil. Remove the bluefish from it’s marinade and place on a baking sheet; then place in the broiler and cook for about 10 minutes. Lower the heat to 300 and place the fish in the oven for an additional 10 minutes until the fish is almost caramelized.
  6. Meanwhile, add the ghee to a skillet. Once melted, add the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add the collards and cook through for about 2 minutes and then add the crumbled bacon. Continue cooking for a minute or 2 more.
  7. Plate it all up, and eat.

Simple. Effective. Tasty.

Whole 30: Day 16

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This morning I made time to pre-cook some scrambled eggs with scallions and fry up some bacon. Another perk of the make your own bacon project is that it also provides me with bacon fat in which to cook my eggs, and other goodies. Yay!

Lunch was leftover curry, which is maybe more amazing the next day.

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Anything to perk you up in the middle of a work day is awesome. Also I’ve been finding that on this diet I never have that post lunch sluggishness that I get after many lunches. Instead I feel energized and happy.

After work I had to babysit my niece for a couple hours, which proved challenging when I showed up and she informed me that she had ordered us pizza. Which is like, my favorite. The good news was, her mom is from California, so she had ordered us Dominoes…which if you live in NYC is pretty much not acceptable as pizza. I still wanted it, though. Instead I ate another apple, and then stole a tangerine from my brother’s fruit bowl. I was a little later than I thought I would be getting home, so dinner was made for me!!! Totally worth being late. My honey sautéed some hake in some ghee with garlic and thyme, steamed some chard and whipped up some potatoes. It was great. And I was so happy that I didn’t cheat, particularly in the form of Dominoes. Day 16 success.

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Whole 30: Day 13

So, still having a bit of a rough time with this day. I knew I had a really busy morning, and I really wanted to exercise before the day got away from me, so I opted to run instead of eat before it all began. Fortunately, the “busy” entailed going to the farm and running the CSF (community supported fishery) pick up, so I got to pick up my veggies and fruit and chomp on amazing apples before I had a chance to get too hungry.

Also, I knew my bacon would be ready today. Which keeps any girl happy.

When I got back from the farm I was starving, so I warmed up the leftover stuffed squash and we split that for lunch.

Then I got the cured pork belly in the oven and some jerky in the dehydrator. Running out of things to grab and go is detrimental.

In the afternoon I made up some chicken salad (and some Whole 30 Mayo) to have around the house.

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I was so excited about the bacon that we decided to do a breakfast dinner.

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It was beautiful. Also I didn’t have to cook it. Also. My bacon is ready. 🙂

Whole 30: Day 1

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So, I think I ate PRETTY well for a day 1 on the Whole 30. Firstly, let me say that I was smart enough to cure some pork belly a week back, so that I was able to make it fully into bacon on day 1 — that’s right, sugar free bacon, and I know it’s sugar free cause I made it. It’s delicious, and now I plan to make 5lbs. worth and have it in the freezer. I also made a batch of almond butter, and a batch of almond milk. I have oils and pork lard for cooking, a bunch of butter to clarify (tonight!!) and have had hot sauce fermenting for the last 7 days, which will also get made tonight. I also have a fresh batch of homemade sprouts — which can now be thrown on anything.

Breakfast: Tomato and Poblano Pepper Frittata with Concord Grapes (pictured above)

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 4 poblano peppers, cut into slices
  • two large tomatoes, cored and chopped
  • 4 scallions, sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • pork lard or bacon fat

Preparation:

  1. Heat cooking fat over medium heat
  2. Crack and mix eggs with salt and pepper
  3. throw peppers, tomatoes and scallions into pan, and cook until fragrant and tomatoes have started releasing their juices.
  4. Add eggs to pan and swirl to distribute throughout the pan
  5. Cook until set. Slice into 4 slices and eat. Serves 2.

Eat with grapes! Always a good idea.

Lunch: BLT Salad

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I was looking around at my ingredients (including my homemade bacon) and I was like, “Oooo, BLT’s!” And then I was like “Ooo, no BLT’s”. But then I thought, why not in salad form? And this delicious lunch was born. Does it really need a recipe? I don’t think so. The more colorful your tomatoes the prettier the salad will be. I dressed it with sea salt and umi vinegar. That’s it!

Dinner: Prepped Asian Shrimp Salad and Whole 30 Compliant Three Cup Chicken

I ate some of both. And there were ample leftovers to live in the fridge for the rest of the week.

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So, for this salad I basically just took the ingredients from a spring roll I’ve made in the past and made it into a salad. Then I can eat this on it’s own, or on top of greens to make a proper salad, wrapped in a lettuce cup, and so on.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. wild shrimp
  • 4 carrots
  • 1 large daikon radish
  • large handful of sprouts
  • coconut aminos

Preparation:

  1. Shred the carrots and daikon and marinade in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of coconut aminos.
  2. Cook the shrimp: I wok fried them in bacon fat.
  3. Mix it all up. Serve with “Peanut” Dipping Sauce

“Peanut” Dipping Sauce:

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup almond butter
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ⅓ cup coconut aminos
  • 1½ teaspoons grated fresh ginger or ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 to 2 medium cloves garlic, pressed or minced, to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Preparation: 

  1. Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix well
  2. Serve with Shrimp Salad, or dip veggies in it!

This seems like a lot for 1 day. So I’ll add the recipe for Three Cup Chicken (Whole 30 approved) for tomorrow.